A logistical nightmare is unfolding along the lower Mississippi River following Tuesday’s discovery of a major (and terrifying-looking) structural crack in the steel beam of the Hernando de Soto Bridge. The nearly 50-year-old through-truss bridge carries Interstate 40 across the Mississippi between Memphis, Tennessee, and the city of West Memphis in northeastern Arkansas.
As of this writing, all vehicular traffic on the bridge, which normally carries an estimated 50,000 vehicles per day across the river, remains indefinitely halted. Barge traffic beneath the bridge also has been put on hold as the severity of the fracture discovered near the middle of the bridge’s “M” span is analyzed and physical inspections
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